Crewman, keep the following preventive maintenance (PM) pointers in mind. They’ll keep your RCV Buffalo A2 mission-ready.
Keep Breather Valves Clean
Breather valves on the Buffalo A2’s front and rear differentials must be clean and open to let off pressure that builds up in those assemblies.
If a breather valve is plugged, seals blow, oil leaks out and gears become damaged.
Keeping the breather valves clean is simple. Just twist the valve’s cap to loosen any dirt inside the cap. If the cap will not turn and pull up, get a new valve.
Make sure a new valve is good by blowing into the valve’s threaded end. If you can’t blow through the breather, it won’t do the job for your equipment. The cap on a good breather opens a little under ½ psi, almost no pressure at all.
Then give all breather valves the twist and pull test after each operation in mud or heavy dust. Your A2’s differentials will live longer if you do this simple check.
Top Off the Fuel Tank
Make it a habit of topping off the fuel tank to 95 percent at each fill up. That keeps condensation from warm days and cool nights from building up in the tank.
Too much water in the tank clogs the engine’s fuel/water separator, making the vehicle run rough, especially during start up.
Switch Off Disconnect Switches
Electronics inside the A2 have a sneaky habit of running down the vehicle’s batteries. That means the batteries can lose their charge in just a week. No juice means a slave start or you’ll be going nowhere at all.
After the day’s run, there are two battery disconnect switches that need your attention. The first switch is under the hood on the driver's side of the vehicle near the firewall. The second switch is inside the vehicle under the forward passenger seat on the commander's side. Switching off the disconnect switches keep batteries from running down.
While you’re at it, also make sure the #1 and #2 power distribution module (PDM) rotary battery switches are turned to the OFF position. You’ll find the PDM inside the back of the vehicle. These switches shut off power to the commo gear.
Keep Emergency Door Closed When Moving
Keep the emergency door closed while the vehicle is moving.
Some crewmen leave the door open to keep air circulating inside the hull. Forget it! Leaving the door open can cause it can to come crashing down on your head and kill you!
Use the Ladder Properly
Make sure you’re facing the vehicle when climbing down the ladder in the back of the A2. Don’t
step down with your back to the vehicle! Gear can get hung up in the ladder steps, causing you to slip and fall off the ladder!
Get the Water Out
You have to drain the air tanks on your A2 every day after operation. If you forget, moisture builds up. It creates corrosion that plugs up the entire air system, including brake valves and cylinders, which can lead to brake failure.
Drain water from the primary and secondary air tanks on the driver’s side of the vehicle. The tank has three pull cables.
By the way, you’ll find this tip listed as steps 1 & 2 in WP 0137-2 of TM 9-2355-352-10 (Sep 11).
Keep Paint off Hoses
It’s no secret that a vehicle’s hydraulic hoses become brittle from exposure to the elements in all kinds of weather.
There’s no reason to paint the Buffalo’s hoses with CARC paint. CARC doesn’t extend the durability or life of the hose. In fact, it can cause more damage whenever it covers a pin-hole leak or hides cracks and abrasions. These problems areas are all symptoms of a hydraulic leak waiting to happen.
Tell your buddies at the paint shop to make sure all exposed hydraulic hoses are covered and taped before they go to work to make the Buffalo look like new.